Andrew Jackson was the first "peoples president". His humble frontier heritage and heroic title won support throughout the nation. Jackson was in touch with the common man and had respect for him. This for once, allowed the "people" to have a more dominant role in government, which is something that America prides itself upon today. His Presidency was plagued with controversy, but President Jackson used his power as President to unite a sometimes-divided nation and establish a precedent of power for future American leaders. States' rights, the nullification crisis, the spoils system, Indian removal and banking policies were all controversies which brought forth strong rivalry and resentment throughout his years as president, but Jackson's strong will and assertiveness got our country through these times. President Andrew Jackson did not overstep the boundaries of the executive branch of government; he only strengthened these boundaries which were already in place.
Andrew Jackson had a heroic military past. In 1810 Jackson was named Major General in the Tennessee Militia. Here Jackson became famous for his victories over the rebel Creek Indians. These victories impressed leaders in Washington and Jackson was put in charge of the defense of New Orleans in the war of 1812. Jackson was able to lead his troops to victory and solidify himself as a dominant figure in the US armed forces. This show of American strength made Americans feel proud after a war filled with many military defeats. This sense of nationalism lead to a time known as "the era of good feelings. Jackson was given the nickname "Old Hickory", and was treated as a national hero.
In 1817 he was ordered against the Seminole Indians. He pushed them back into Spanish Florida and continued to take the rest of the land from the Spanish. Many to this day claim Andrew Jackson was not authorized to do so, but in reality he was. He and President Monroe both realized the acquisition of Spanish lands would strengthen the nation. On December 28, 1817, Monroe wrote Jackson a provocative note explaining his true intention for Florida. "This days mail will convey to you an order to repair to the command of the troops now acting against the Seminoles, a tribe which has long wilted our right and insulted our national character. The movement that you will bring may possibly have other services to perform, depending on the conduct of the banditti at Amelia Island and Galvestown. This is not a time for you to think of repose. Great issues for the future of our country are at issue, and until our course is carried through triumphantly and every species of danger is settled on the most solid foundation, you ought not to withdraw your active force from it". (Remini pg.119)
"Jackson naturally believed he had been instructed to seize Florida. What "other services" did Monroe have in mind if not the seizure of this territory?"(Remini pg.119) Jackson did not hesitate, and his actions helped to acquire the Florida territory, and he became a provisional governor of Florida that same year. This situation demonstrates the character of this man. Andrew Jackson was a man dedicated to strengthening our country at any cost. He was not one let what others may think of him get in the way of what he knew was best for his country.
Later, Jackson nearly won the presidential campaign of 1824, however due to a "corrupt bargain" between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay he lost. Over the next four years the current administration built a strong political machine with nationalistic policies and a lack of concern of states rights. Adams also implements the tariff of Abominations, which outraged common merchants and southerners. The 1828 campaign was filled with mud slinging on both sides. John Quincy Adams and his northern supporters went as far as saying that Jackson's wife had committed adultery by being with Jackson while she was still married to Lewis Roberts. However the people still rallied...
Cited: Remini, Robert. The Life of Andrew Jackson New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988
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